16 Mar ‘England won’t hurt our title challenge’
Mauricio Pochettino believes Roy Hodgson could name up to eight Tottenham players in the next England squad but insists the national side will not damage his team’s title charge.
Hodgson will pick his squad for upcoming friendlies against Germany and Holland on Thursday, and Spurs are set to have the largest contingent of any club in the Barclays Premier League.
Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Kyle Walker and Eric Dier are all likely to be called up while Danny Rose, Ryan Mason, Kieran Trippier and Tom Carroll have also featured heavily for Spurs in recent weeks.
Tottenham will have to overturn a 3-0 deficit against Borussia Dortmund to progress in the Europa League on Thursday but the squad have endured a hectic season already, having come through 52 matches in all competitions.
The international break arrives at a crucial point in the campaign as Spurs sit second in the table with eight games to play, but Pochettino is not concerned.
“Maybe we have a big, big group called up – seven, six, eight maybe,” the Argentinian said.
“We have contact with all the staff from the national teams and always we need advice and information but we’ll never say ‘you need to do this or that’.
“We have confidence and trust in the national team to care and look after our players.
“When they have international opportunities and a chance to play and prepare for the Euros, it’s difficult because they have interests and sometimes it’s against our interests.
“We need to understand they need to play and show quality and effort. I’m happy with our communication with the national team – they hear us.”
Kane’s fitness is particularly important for Tottenham, who have no other senior strikers to call upon should their top scorer get injured. The 22-year-old has started every one of his side’s league matches this season.
“For me, when a player has an injury, it’s an accident,” Pochettino said. “It’s not what you want but it happens.
“The staff in the national teams have the quality and capacity to look after players but it’s difficult to stop accidents. It’s football. It’s important for us to trust them and them to trust us.”
Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembele both sat out first-team training on Wednesday and Pochettino confirmed the pair would likely be rested against Dortmund, with a home game against Bournemouth to come on Sunday.
Pochettino fielded a weakened side for last week’s first leg at the Westfalenstadion and Dortmund took full advantage to stand on the brink of the quarter-finals. Spurs will have to score three without reply even to force extra time at White Hart Lane.
“I believe in my squad and for one result negative now it has not changed my vision of them,” Pochettino said.
“Sometimes it is difficult and I accept in a very good way the criticism because always in football if you win you are a genius, if not, you are a disaster.
“For me it is important to keep all players motivated. All players are important. It is not only to say it, it is important to show I believe in them.
“Sometimes we rotate, sometimes maybe I made a mistake. We analyse our decisions a lot. We can always do better and for that we are open to learn.”
Jan Vertonghen and Clinton Njie will not be involved in the second leg but both players have recovered from their knee injuries.
The duo are expected to start full training again next week, with a view to being available for selection following the international break.